Memorials: 1395

Pages 539-541

Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.

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Indenture of agreement between the Cordwainers and the Cobblers.

19 Richard II. A.D. 1395. Letter-Book H. fol. ccciv. (Norman French.)

"This indenture, made on the 14th day of August, in the year of Grace 1395, and the 19th year of the reign of King Richard the Second, witnesseth that, whereas a certain suit was made unto our Lord the King by the Cobelers from beyond sea, dwelling in London, making assertion that they could not gain their living as they had gained it theretofore, by reason of their disturbance by the Wardens of the trade of Cordewaners; the King thereupon, by his Letters, commanded John Fresshe, Mayor of the said city, that the said Cobelers should gain their living as they had done from of old, and according as the custom of the said city demanded. By reason of which command of the King, the said Mayor, to do right and justice to either side, and that it might be declared what of right should belong to the one party and the other, held inquisition by 24 men, twelve of whom were new workers, called Cordewaners,' of the said City, and twelve were old workers, called 'Cobelers,' in the City, as well English as aliens there residing; and charged them loyally to present and declare that which was due, and would belong in right and reason to either side. The which jurors, sworn, that is to say, Richard Mildenhale, John Lillyngeston, John Pottere, Thomas Kyngesbrigge, Aleyn Walsingham, Richard Pyrie, John Silby, John Crendone, Richard Shote, John de Bury, Thomas Mortemer, and Stephen Toppesfeld, of the new workers, called 'Cordewaners,' and John Hildresham, William Balsale, John Oliver, John Pope, John Richemond, William Walyngford,—English Cobelers, Henry Mertone, John Balk, John Tiler the Elder, Nicholas Cortrik, Angelbright Van Ottenburgh, Jacob Petressone,—alien old workers, or Cobelers, agreed by common assent, for them and their successors, Cordewaners and Cobelers in the City of London, before the said Mayor, in the Guildhall of London, after this form, that is to say:—that no person who meddles with old shoes, shall meddle with new shoes to sell; and that every manner of work that may be made of new leather belongs to the new workers, without their meddling with any old work to sell. And in the same manner, the old workers shall not work upon anything but old leather for sale, on pain of forfeiting such work; except in mending old boots and shoes, that is to say, in quareling (fn. 1) before and behind, clouting and pecyng, and ryvetting and lynyng; in doing the which, they may take new leather, or old, whichever shall be best for the common profit. And also,—that all persons following the said trade, in new work and in old, as well masters as serving-men, shall be under the rule and governance of the Wardens of the said trade of Cordewaners, in overseeing and searching whether they keep the Ordinances, and do their work, on both sides, well and lawfully, for the common profit. And in case that the Wardens of the said trade of Cordewaners, sworn in the Guildhall, shall hereafter find any one in default as against this agreement, such person shall pay 40d. the first time, and the second time 6s. 8d., and the third time 13s. 4d., to the use of the Chamber; and the fourth time, he shall submit to the ordinance of the Mayor and Aldermen of the said city thereon. In witness of which final accord between the parties aforesaid, to one part of this indenture, remaining with the said men, the Cordewaners, the twelve of the said inquest of the calling of Cobelers have set their seals. And to the other part of the same indenture, remaining with the said men of the calling of Cobelers, the twelve of the same inquest of the said trade of Cordewaners have set their seals. Written at London, in the said Chamber of the Guildhall, the day and year above mentioned."


  • 1. Probably meaning, cutting out holes in the old leather, and replacing it with new.